Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Bentleys Abroad {part 4}

After spending the night at a hotel in Bonn, we woke up the next morning to the Bonn Marathon outside our windows. Mum and dad went out early and took photos of the university building and the martyrs heads, and then came back for breakfast, which we ate together.

 I think continental breakfasts, with fresh breadrolls and nutella are my favourite. Not even incredibly fit people racing past on rollerblades or on foot could make me enjoy it less.

Afterwards, when all packed up again, we hung out in the avenue of trees and waited for Onkel Arno and Tante Ursel to come and meet us. It was a good opportunity for impromptu photos by the trees. Every blogger needs a photo of themselves, and their husband/boyfriend/dog if applicable, by a tree. Right? Right.

And every tourist in Bonn needs a photo of themselves in front of the University.

Onkel Arno and Tante Ursel met us soon afterwards, and we made our way, through the crowds of runners, to the Beethoven house. Beethoven was born in this pretty city and his statue or face appears as graffiti, statues all over, pictures in windows, souvenirs... he's creepily everywhere. We went to the house in which he was born, and saw the tiny little room where he took his first breaths. A lot of his letters and compositions and instruments are on display there, and although it's nothing spectacular, it was interesting. (also, photography isn't allowed inside) It also makes one think of how much potential is in every little being... we never know what great things might become of little babies.

After the museum, we headed to the northern part of the city, where the streets were full of cherry blossoms. It was absolutely beautiful, especially when the wind blew and the petals would come showering down.

The avenue of trees eventually lead us to the Rhine, which we walked along for quite some time. We passed by the statue of the little man pulling his pants down and pointing his rear end in the direction of the people who refused to contribute money towards the building of the bridge, before heading back into the city for lunch at a Greek restaurant. It was such a good one, I wish I knew what it was called because the food and the service were great.

After lunch, we went to the cathedral, which was finally accessible again after the marathon was calming down. I love what a quiet place it is in the courtyard.

With us still having a few hours until the train we wanted to take, we took the long walk (ok not actually thaaaat long, but after a weekend of walking, it certainly felt extremely long!) to the old castle's other half, and the botanical garden that is joined to it.

The gardens are really beautiful, and now in spring they were definitely worth the visit. All that's missing is a coffee shop... lucky scientists that get to work in this beautiful old building! The garden has got some really interesting plants, especially in the greenhouse. The giant lillypads, strong enough for a child to sit on, reminded me of teaching "frog jumps" to my ballet girls.

After having a last cup of coffee with Tante Ursel and Onkel Arno at their flat, and making some sandwiches for the road, we went off to the station. The way back was long, and some of the trains were quite full, but it was fun. At least, Malcolm and I sitting behind mum and dad, and Malcolm seeing how many tiny pieces of paper he could sneak into mum's hair before she noticed was fun.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Bentleys Abroad {Part 3} and Malcolm's birthday {Part 2)

Day three in Germany, and also Malcolm's birthday, was spent with long amounts of sitting, followed by long amounts of walking.

We set off eeeearly (we had to catch a bus a full hour earlier than our train left in order to make it on time) and arrived at the station while it was still dark. Nothing coffee and chocolate croissants can't improve.

We caught our first of three trains for the day, and slowly made our way to Cologne. It was a pretty good trip despite the misty and rainy weather, and the scenery along the Lahn is just beautiful.

Since we arrived at Hauptbahnhof and wanted to catch the tram line 4, we needed to cross the Deutz bridge, where we got to check up on our love lock. I'm so glad that we took note of where we locked it on because red is most definitely the favourite colour. We found it, and although it's rusted, it's good to know that our 5euro investment in ensuring our love remains for ever was still secure.

Cologne Messe-Deutz Love Lock

We made our way to the Ubahn and headed to Dunnwald; the neighbourhood that holds so many memories, so many happy Summer memories, and so many lonely and confused memories too. It was nice to walk up the road happily, with mum and dad and Malcolm around me.

We stopped by the house we stayed in, and seeing Ellen and Wolfgang's silhouettes in the window, we went to the door to say hullo. We had a great mini-catch-up, and then went back on our way to the forest. We found a bench and had a picnic brunch while watching people jog and cycle and walk past. So very active!

Afterwards, we had some time to look at some of the animals before our bus would arrive... the wildschweine and the deer were unfortunately too far away to get a good look at, but dad's zoom-lense is pretty impressive.

We caught a bus and then tram back into the city centre. Back at the Messe Deutz station, daddy finally got his first real German pretzel (and wasn't quite sure how to pose for a photo with it when I asked him to), as opposed to mum's homemade ones which taste just as good. As we were nearing the bridge to cross over back to the Aldstadt, we noticed the viewing tower that we'd thought about going up, but didn't before. Not knowing when we'd do it if not then, we went up. The view is incredible, even though it was so misty.

We crossed back over the Deutz bridge, and then walked a little along the Rhine before taking an alleyway to Gross St Martins church. There we left a note to say hullo to Margaret, and mum and dad got to rub Tünnes' and Schäl's noses for good luck.

Cologne Messe-Deutz Love Lock

We sat in the Markt platz drinking Kolsch. Despite the chilly wind, it was lovely... a couple walked past from the town hall where they had got married, and there were tour groups all over. A trip to Koln wouldn't be complete without a stop at our favourite ice-cream shop, and we sat by the little Heinzelmännchen statue looking up to the Cathedral ahead.

After a walk (a very dramatic one for the camera) on real Roman paving and taking group photos for people in the square, we got closer and closer to the Cathedral. We listened to a man playing music, still there since Summer, and a guy attempting to dance to it. There were protesters outside the cathedral, though not very many and I couldn't decipher their cause. Inside, my breath was taken away again by the grandeur of it all. I've become accustomed to the cathedral here, but I was reminded that it really is dwarfed by the Kolner Dom.

We had time still to get some Curry-Wurst to eat on the platform while waiting for another train... curry wurst is by no means my favourite, but, when in the train station it just seems appropriate.

We boarded the train, and the half hour trip to Bonn seemed so short in comparison to the 4 hours we'd been travelling that morning. We were greeted at the station by Tante Ursel and Onkel Arno who then showed us to the hotel they'd booked for us.

That evening after supper, since it was still Malcolm's birthday and Tante Ursel hadn't forgotten that fact, Malcolm got another birthday cake... lots of chocolate cake, cream and cherries.